Buchholz feels fine after record pitch count


Buchholz feels fine after record pitch count

By MaureenMullen

BOSTON A day after throwing more pitches in a game than hes ever thrown, 127, Clay Buchholz said he felt no differently than he would have after any other start.

Same stiffness, same soreness, he said. Usually the day after I can go out there and play catch and my body feels a little better. But, yeah, everything feels the same as it usually does.

Buchholz went seven scoreless innings Wednesday against the Tigers, lowering his ERA to 3.42, giving up four hits and a walk. He matched his season high in innings and strikeouts, and he allowed a season low one walk. Although he did not get a decision in the game, his outing helped the Red Sox beat the Tigers, 1-0, on a miserably rainy night at Fenway Park.

His pitch count was 17 more than his previous high of 110 in his previous start, a win in Yankee Stadium on May 13.

I dont think theres really a huge difference if youre not tired, if your legs are still underneath, he said. I feel like 100 to 130 pitches isnt really anything if youre able to stay in your delivery and not come out of it and compensate for something with your legs being tired or just being tired in general. Nah, but I felt, even that last inning a couple of pitches got away, but I still felt pretty good.

Buchholzs last three starts have been somewhat unusual. On May 7 against the Twins, he threw just 61 pitches over five innings but that included a rain delay of two hours and seven minutes before the third inning. Buchholz spent time during the delay throwing in the batting cage behind the Red Sox dugout. In his May 13 start in Yankee Stadium, Buchholz set then season highs in innings, with seven, pitches (110), and strikeouts (seven). In total, though, he has thrown 298 pitches in the three outings, which is in line with what pitching coach Curt Young wants to see from his starters.

Well, hes got such a good routine between, and just from talking with him today, hes totally normally, Young said. So, what he does in between is important. When you take a guy high in one start youre definitely going to keep an eye on him in the next start. So Ive talked about the three-start cycle, trying to keep it around 330 pitches, and thatll be the case coming up in his game on Monday.

Buchholz appeared to cruise through his outing Wednesday against the Tigers despite throwing 26 pitchers in a 1-2-3 first inning. He opened the game by striking out his first two-batters, before an 11-pitch Brennan Boesch at-bat ended in flyout to Jacoby Ellsbury in center field.

He entered the seventh inning having thrown 100 pitches. Facing seven batters, he threw 127 pitches. He also hit two batters in the inning, his career high for HBPs in a game. For Young, that was Buchholzs inning to finish.

The only real high pitch count inning was the first where he did a 1-2-3 inning on 26 pitches I think, Young said. Every other one was around that 15 average. You go out for the seventh inning at 100 pitches. I think our guys are possessed. When they start an inning, theyre going to finish the inning and the game called for him to finish that inning right there. I think him and manager Terry Francona might have had a little battle on the mound if he was going to take him out so you love that attitude, and definitely I was keeping an eye on the pitches or it will be something in his next start.

And, with two starters placed on the disabled list this week John Lackey on Monday and Daisuke Matsuzaka Tuesday it helps Youngs relievers for his starters
to go deep into games, not only for that particular game but also for those following.

Oh, yeah, anytime you can get a string of starters pitching deep in games its a great thing, Young said. We really went through it when our guys went through two weeks' worth of that and the bullpen was getting nowhere. And then they went through a period of a week where we were wearing them out. So it really does, it goes in cycles that way. But any time you can get a starter thats consistent the way Clay has been doing its great for a team.

The good cycles usually involve the starters pitching deep. So were always talking about them trying to be efficient as they can and pitch selection has so much to do with that. Changeup is a great pitch to get in an early easy out, or a well-located fastball. So you always push that but sometimes the other team doesnt always cooperate. Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona


McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.